National Institute of Health

The HEALTHY study was conducted at six middle schools of which three schools were designated as intervention (Rhodes, Irving, Longfellow) and three schools as control (Tafolla, Connell, Poe). The study focused diabetes prevention for the middle schools. 

In response to the dramatic increase in type 2 diabetes in the pediatric population, the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK) of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) has sponsored a collaborative agreement, Studies to Treat Or Prevent Pediatric Type 2 Diabetes (STOPP-T2D), to develop and conduct both a treatment and prevention trial of type 2 diabetes (T2D) in children and adolescents. The prevention trial was the responsibility of the STOPP-T2D Prevention Study Group. The Prevention Study Group was composed of investigators from seven field centers (Baylor College of Medicine, Oregon Health & Science University, University of California at Irvine, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, University of Pennsylvania, University of Pittsburgh, and University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio), the NIDDK project office, the coordinating center at George Washington University, the study chair, and other experts.

 The prevention trial implemented a population-based intervention to affect risk factors for type 2 diabetes in youth. The study group determined that middle school was the ideal environment for this intervention. Middle school children are typically undergoing pubertal changes that increase insulin resistance, alter body composition, and affect other risk factors for type 2 diabetes. Diet and physical activity behaviors are in flux during this period, and this transition represented an optimal opportunity to encourage healthier behaviors. Students this age are developmentally capable of increasing personal responsibility for behavior change and able to complete self-reportassessments reliably.

The study group also determined that to impact risk for type 2 diabetes would require intervening on multiplelevels, i.e., environmental, social, and individual. The environmental portion of the intervention changes the physical education class lesson plans and modifies the foods served in school. The behavior change intervention aimed to enhance appropriate behavior choices within the school environment and extend positive lifestyle choices beyond the school environment. Social marketing and communication strategies reinforced diet and activity changes in and out of school. Finally, school staff andparents/guardians received information and incentives to encourage them to help students adopt healthy lifestyles.


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